Friday, 12 September 2014

It's a Good Life ... don't miss it!

What could be more inviting? A day out at the Malvern Autumn Show
The lovely thing for me, as a journalist creating Ann's Malvern Jotter, is that snippets of information trickle in a topic at a time, and I have the pleasure of sifting and sorting them into a post that I hope you, the reader, will enjoy. A buzz of excitement every time I sit at the computer, open up the emails and image files that have been collecting  in my in-tray, and scrapbook-like reassemble them for your delight. Quite often the theme I had planned takes on a whole new meaning, and I re-jig my focus. Such has been the case this week, as information filtered through on "the good life". You could in fact spend the whole of both days in 'The Good Life Pavilion', listening to celebrity talks and discussions.

Roses to celebrate a musician's life
The Good Life Pavilion is situated at the top of Row 7 (top means facing the Hills), and close to the West Gate. It is also the location for three fascinating show gardens, each different in concept. Absorb their nuances, subtlety of planting, and the meaning behind each given title.    How, I thought, would designers Caspian Robertson & Daniela Krasnanova interpret their theme of 'Scattered Roses...'? Caspian explains: "The garden is a celebration to the life and music of Sir John Tavener, whose final work was 'Scatter Roses Over My Tears'."  It also takes inspiration from the wonderful variety and colour of the new 2015 David Austin Rose catalogue.  "In the centre of the garden sits a water feature, a representation of the creative energy from which a spiral path flows, a symbol of movement, growth and change.  As well as roses, herbs will strongly feature amongst the planting to contribute to the fragrant notes of the garden's aroma." But there's more to this garden than that ... I was intrigued and delved deep. Music. I do not usually link to outside websites in the Jotter, but am doing so now, for I hope you will agree that what I discovered gives a far deeper meaning to the garden. So poignant, and music therapy at its best. Please take a look, but remember to come back for the rest of  'The Good Life'. 

Not just for Autumn, but other seasons, too
And now the Autumn Show Gardens link with celebrity speakers and talks; and within the Pavilion, so you hardly need to move! Caroline Tatham is Course Director and Principal of the Cotswold Gardening School, is a qualified and experienced lecturer and also runs a busy garden design practice. (You may have seen her at the RHS Malvern Spring Show.) Of her Autumn Show garden, 'Brave New World of Beauty’, she says: “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to have been invited to design and create a feature Garden, and also to speak about garden design and floristry. I am hoping to inspire and inform with a garden that evokes the three seasons of Spring, Winter and Autumn, using layers of contrasting planting. I want to convey the idea that the Autumn season represents a beginning and not an end in the garden - as a time to plant and plan for the coming growing season. Also I want to challenge the idea of putting the garden to bed and cutting down all perennials and eradicating weeds - but rather embrace wild flowers and leave perennials standing over the winter to be enjoyed for their frosty beauty and architectural seed heads.” 

Caroline will be appearing ‘on stage’ in the Good Life Theatre throughout the weekend: on Saturday (am) a Q&A session on her Show garden with Joe Swift;  then (pm) a threesome floral masterclass; Caroline, Joe, and Mark Diacono. She will be repeating the Q&A session on Sunday (pm) and also offering solo a Floral Masterclass.

Mark Diacono
Mark Diacono will no doubt be well-membered from previous shows as a young, ebullient and knowledgeable presenter; and he will need all his stamina over the two days to survive a punishing schedule! For the uninitiated, Mark’s website states, “I’m lucky enough to spend most of my time eating, growing, writing and talking about food. At my smallholding, Otter Farm, I grow unusual and forgotten food along with the best of the familiar.” His book, ‘Taste of the Unexpected’ won the Guild of Food Writers’ Food Book of the Year 2011 and is an absolute eye-opener. Just don’t miss at least one of his six appearances at the Show - check your Show Guide on arrival.

A typical Pennard Plant show garden
One specific to mention is ‘Good Life and Fine Edibles' - Mark Diacono and Chris Smith from Pennard Plants (Saturday), repeated on Sunday, additionally with ‘Exclusive Malvern Autumn Cocktails’ courtesy of Mark Diacono and Bottlegreen - a bit early in the morning maybe, but nobody has said anything about the cocktails being alcoholic! But who knows? ‘Fine Edibles’ and Chris Smith of Pennard Plants actually brings us to the third Autumn Show Garden in the Good Life Pavilion. The ‘Pennard Plants Garden' portrays “A meadow garden filled with an abundance of fruit trees, which includes a productive vegetable patch and a beautiful flower garden.” Their own story is fascinating; that aside, I am always drawn to their Malvern stands for their packets of Heritage and Heirloom Vegetable Seeds.

Gardeners of the future - it behoves us all to encourage their participation
As Shakespeare wrote, "the play's the thing ...." - for which read 'the Show's the thing'- and in two week's time we can all be enjoying the harvest atmosphere, the hills, and the seven show ground 'regions': Harvest, Food, Gardening, Shop, Nostalgia, Discovery, and Live Shows. Bring your children or grandchildren and introduce them to the excitement of harvest and everything that such activities conjure in your mind.

Just to remind you: Show opening times on both days are 9.00am to 6.00pm and there’s a free shuttle bus from Great Malvern rail station. There's also no charge for standard car parking.  Book your Show tickets online, or phone the ticket hotline (01684 584924). It's my final preview next week - so do bookmark this page.

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